Friday, May 20, 2016

Portland OR School Board Bans Climate Change-Denying Materials

Portland Tribune:
"In a move spearheaded by environmentalists, the Portland Public Schools board un
animously approved a resolution aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools...."

"The resolution passed Tuesday evening calls for the school district to get rid of textbooks or other materials that cast doubt on whether climate change is occurring and that the activity of human beings is responsible. The resolution also directs the superintendent and staff to develop an implementation plan for 'curriculum and educational opportunities that address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.'"
For example:
"In board testimony, Bigelow said PPS’ science textbooks are littered with words like might, may and could when talking about climate change.

"'Carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles, power plants and other sources, may contribute to global warming,'  he quotes Physical Science published by Pearson as saying. 'This is a section that could be written by the Exxon public relations group and it’s being taught in Portland schools.'"
Bigelow is right, on the example.

23 comments:

Richard Mallett said...

Words like 'might' may' and 'could' also litter quotes from alarmists.

David Appell said...

Richard Mallett wrote:
"Words like 'might' may' and 'could' also litter quotes from alarmists."

As well they should. Not all of us can foretell the future.

Richard Mallett said...

So those text books that are being banned are using the words that they should be using.

OnymousGuy said...

I am a Portland resident, and find the language about banning anything troubling, but I attribute that to bad reporting. The bOregonian (the local fish wrap) has an online post about this with over 1800 comments and the night is still young in Troll Land.

If someone were to advocate that we should teach our children that there are integers (as yet unknown) between 1 and 2, what would you say? Or that we should teach our children that the notion of atomic elements is false and a hoax, what would you say? Or that evolution never happened and all the world was fashion a mere 6000 years ago, what would you say? Or that the basis for astrology is as real as that of astronomy, what would you say?

This isn't about silencing one side of the debate. It is about making all sides of discussion in a classroom have a perspective based on science, not myth.

I am also a physical scientist, and I am just not willing to let science teaching be taken over by the propagandists for the carbon lobby, any more than I am willing to have the teaching of forest ecology taken over by the timber industry - and this I saw this happen in our own children's classrooms.

Don't confuse this issue with some Bizzaro World version of free speech, like Tom Tomorrow's cartoons. This is not about free speech, it is about insisting on competence in the classroom.

OnymousGuy said...

I should have said that my comment was directed not at David Appell, but at Richard Mallett.

Richard Mallett said...

So which books are being banned (or proposed to be banned) ? It seems that we can only form an opinion if we know which books are involved.

FWIW I currently believe that :-

1. There are no integers between 1 and 2.
2. Atomic elements are real.
3. Evolution is real.
4. The world is billions of years old.
5. The evidence for astrology is weaker than is that for astronomy.
6. Children should not be taught things that are not real.
7. Children should be taught alternative theories, if they are backed by evidence.
8. The Earth is currently warming (since 1975) at 1.73°C per century.
9. This is due to (in order of importance) :-

a) Carbon dioxide: 91% correlation
b) Total Solar Irradiance: 61% correlation
c) Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation: 35% correlation
d) Pacific Decadal Oscillation: 10% correlation

Forecasts / projections / predictions (in all sciences) should be treated with caution, and accepted if / when they agree with observations.

David Appell said...

Richard, again, your numbers are simpleminded bullshit, not science.

Richard Mallett said...

Could you please explain further ?

David in Cal said...

The IPCC Report is full of words like 'might' may' and 'could'. If this new school board policy were strictly enforced, the IPCC Report would be banned from the schools.

Richard Mallett said...

I doubt if the children would read it anyway :-)

OnymousGuy said...

David in Cal, Richard Mallett - thank you for smoking.

There are now over 2900 comments at the bOregonian - fertile soil for trolls.

And read the resolution. It says nothing about banning anything, nor does it reject materials that use "words like 'might' may' and 'could'." It says "The implementation plan should include a review of current textbooks for accuracy around the severity of the climate crisis and the impact of human activities. PPS will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities."

Richard Mallett said...

Well, that is very bad. 'Express[ing] doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities' is what the scientific debate is all about.

OnymousGuy said...

Your level of ignorance is what is very bad. The real questions include how to remediate the atmosphere, how to get to a zero-carbon economy, and how to achieve all of this soon enough to avoid the worst effects of brutally excessive warming, (think about 123.8 F in India) and do it in an equitable sustainable fashion that does not either tank the economy or shift all our resources even more to the 1%. Arrhenius in the 19th Century deduced that increased atmospheric CO2 would warm the planet - and his estimate of sensitivity to doubling of CO2 was surprisingly good. Imagine where we would be had we devoted our efforts to answering the above questions half a century ago instead of waiting until it is almost too late.

Richard Mallett said...

There are no signs that 'it is almost too late'
Where are 'the worst effects of brutally excessive warming' ?

OnymousGuy said...

DNFTT

David in Cal said...

Thanks for the actual text, OnymousGuy. It doesn't change my conclusion.


The rule says, "PPS will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis..." Strictly following this rule would ban the IPCC Report. The IPCC says climate sensitivity is highly likely to be between 1.5 - 4.5 deg C. That wide range is a way of "expressing doubt about the severity of the climate crisis."

(Of course, people who wrote the rule didn't mean it to apply it a report that says climate change is a big problem, and it might be an even bigger problem. They meant the rule to apply to those who say climate change might not be a problem.)

cheers

Layzej said...

That is a quantification of the severity. Not doubt. Doubt is when you prefer intuition to science.

David Appell said...

Richard Mallett said...
"Could you please explain further ?"

No, I won't.

Even more than DiC, you have already shown here that you are incapable of learning. You repeat the same old unscientific tripe again and again. I don't see any reason to waste any more time on you.

Windchasers said...

"Well, that is very bad. 'Express[ing] doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities' is what the scientific debate is all about."

Yeah, the difference between this "doubt" and scientific debate is that the scientific debate requires bringing evidence, and weighing the evidence from both sides.

If you want to argue about whether strong hurricanes will become less or more frequent, I'm sure you can find plenty of takers among scientists. That issue still isn't settled; the evidence is inconclusive.

But if you want to argue about whether CO2 causes climate change (say, whether it's below 1.5C / doubling), you'll have to bring some pretty extraordinary evidence to back up your position, as there's overwhelming evidence showing that the warming will almost certainly be between 1.5C and 4.5C per doubling, from many independent sources and independent lines of evidence, with a best estimate of 3C.

The point is, no one cares about your feeling of doubt. You shouldn't care, either. You should only care about what you can actually back up with evidence.

Richard Mallett said...

Reply to Windchasers :-

Co2 is not the only effect. The solar (Gleissberg, Suess / de Vries, Eddy) cycles and the oceanic (PDO, AMO, NAO, ENSO) cycles also need to be considered.

Layzej said...

No shit Richard. What's your point?

Richard Mallett said...

The point is that Windchasers said :-

"But if you want to argue about whether CO2 causes climate change (say, whether it's below 1.5C / doubling), you'll have to bring some pretty extraordinary evidence to back up your position, as there's overwhelming evidence showing that the warming will almost certainly be between 1.5C and 4.5C per doubling, from many independent sources and independent lines of evidence, with a best estimate of 3C."

in reply to my post that said :-

"Well, that is very bad. 'Express[ing] doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities' is what the scientific debate is all about."

I was talking about text books in schools in Oregon, which (I hope) will not concentrate only on CO2.

Layzej said...

CO2 should obviously take precedence. It's the primary and increasingly dominant driver of the long term trend.

It would be great if they also discussed table 8.6 of AR5WG1 - http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter08_FINAL.pdf

Discussions around short term variability from trendless cycles like PDO are also worth discussing as they put to bed tired denier memes like "no warming since...!"

None of that has anything to do with climate denial.